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Why Does God Permit Suffering?
11-30-2009, 09:57 AM
Post: #1
Why Does God Permit Suffering?
Why Does God Permit Suffering?

First of all, how did suffering get started? Examination of the causes focuses attention on our first human parents, Adam and Eve. Jehovah God created them perfect and put them in paradise surroundings. If they had obeyed God, they would never have got sick or died. They could have enjoyed perfect human life forever. Suffering was not part of Jehovah’s purpose for mankind. But Jehovah clearly told Adam that continued enjoyment of what He had given them depended on obedience. Obviously, they had to breath, eat, drink, and sleep in order to continue living. And they had to keep God’s moral requirements in order to enjoy life fully and to be favored with such life forever. But they chose to go their own way, to set their own standards of good and bad, and thus they turned away from God, the Life-Giver. Sin led to death. It was as sinners that Adam and Eve produced children, and they could not pass on to their children what they no longer had. All were born in sin, with inclinations toward wrongdoing, weaknesses that could lead to illness, a sinful inheritance that would eventually result in death. Because everyone on earth today was born in sin, all of us experience suffering in various ways.

Jehovah has made provisions to end all suffering. He created the first human pair perfect, and he lovingly made every provision so that life would be pleasant for them. When they deliberately turned their backs on God, was God obligated to intervene so as to shield their children from the effects of what the parents had done? However, as an expression of marvelous underserved kindness, sent his own dearly loved Son to earth to lay down his life as a ransom, to provide relief for those of Adam’s offspring who would appreciatively exercise faith in this provision. – John 3:16. As a results, the opportunity is open to people living today to have what Adam lost – perfect human life, free from suffering, in a paradise earth.
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11-30-2009, 10:26 AM
Post: #2
RE: Why Does God Permit Suffering?
(11-30-2009 09:57 AM)jwitness Wrote:  Why Does God Permit Suffering?

First of all, how did suffering get started? Examination of the causes focuses attention on our first human parents, Adam and Eve. Jehovah God created them perfect and put them in paradise surroundings. If they had obeyed God, they would never have got sick or died. They could have enjoyed perfect human life forever. Suffering was not part of Jehovah’s purpose for mankind. But Jehovah clearly told Adam that continued enjoyment of what He had given them depended on obedience. Obviously, they had to breath, eat, drink, and sleep in order to continue living. And they had to keep God’s moral requirements in order to enjoy life fully and to be favored with such life forever. But they chose to go their own way, to set their own standards of good and bad, and thus they turned away from God, the Life-Giver. Sin led to death. It was as sinners that Adam and Eve produced children, and they could not pass on to their children what they no longer had. All were born in sin, with inclinations toward wrongdoing, weaknesses that could lead to illness, a sinful inheritance that would eventually result in death. Because everyone on earth today was born in sin, all of us experience suffering in various ways.

Jehovah has made provisions to end all suffering. He created the first human pair perfect, and he lovingly made every provision so that life would be pleasant for them. When they deliberately turned their backs on God, was God obligated to intervene so as to shield their children from the effects of what the parents had done? However, as an expression of marvelous underserved kindness, sent his own dearly loved Son to earth to lay down his life as a ransom, to provide relief for those of Adam’s offspring who would appreciatively exercise faith in this provision. – John 3:16. As a results, the opportunity is open to people living today to have what Adam lost – perfect human life, free from suffering, in a paradise earth.

If she created them perfect, how could they have gone against her will? If she was omniscient, could she not have seen it coming?

If she didn't want them to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, why not put that tree in a remote location where Adam and Eve could never get to it?

If God wanted unconditional obedience, why give Adam and Eve free will?

Why was it necessary to send Jesus to earth just to be brutally tortured and executed? If she's omnipotent, why can't she just skip the middle man and forgive us? If she loves us as much as we are told she does, why punish us for a crime supposedly committed by our great great great great yadda yadda yadda granparents thousands of years ago?
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11-30-2009, 12:40 PM
Post: #3
RE: Why Does God Permit Suffering?
(11-30-2009 09:57 AM)jwitness Wrote:  First of all, how did suffering get started?

The Book of Job contains several answers as to why the righteous should suffer.

1. Suffering results from evil done to the righteous by an adversary.

Satan the Accuser is given permission by God to inflict suffering on Job. (Job 1-2) Satan was not yet considered wholly evil as he was later in Christianity but in fact could come to the heavenly court to address God.

2. Suffering is a punishment for the sins of the individual

Job's friends insist endlessly that his suffering must be his own fault because of something he did even though Job can think of nothing he did wrong. (Job 3-37) Note that the very first verses of Job 1 tell us that Job is indeed totally blameless. God later tells the three friends that this is NOT the answer.

3. That's just the way it is.

When Job asks God why he has to suffer, God spends four chapters (Job 38-41) telling Job what amounts to, "Shut up and sit down! I'm GOD!"
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11-30-2009, 02:14 PM
Post: #4
RE: Why Does God Permit Suffering?
Good questions...

The scriptures say that “God put Abraham to the test” by commanding him to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering. When Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, God stopped him and said: “Now I do know that you are God-fearing in that you have not withheld your son, your only one, from me.” – Gen 22:1-12.
Would God have made that statement if he knew in advance that Abraham would obey this command? Would it have been an honest test?

The ancient prophets report that God repeatedly spoke of himself as ‘feeling regret’ over something he had done or was thinking of doing. For ex. God said that he ‘regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.’ Because God is perfect, these verses cannot mean that God made a mistake in selecting Saul to be Israel’s first king. Rather, they must indicate that God felt sorry that Saul turned out to be faithless and disobedient. God’s using such an expression in referring to himself would be nonsensical if he had foreknown Saul’s actions.

The same term appears in the most ancient of the Scriptures where, in referring to the days of Noah, it says: “Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart. So Jehovah said: ‘I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground… because I do regret that I have made them.” – Gen 6:6,7. This indicates that man’s actions are not predestined by God. God felt regret, grief, and even hurt, not because his own actions were mistaken, but because man’s wickedness became rife. The created regretted that it had become necessary to destroy all mankind except Noah and his family. God assures us: ‘I take no delight in the death of the wicked.’ – Ezekiel 33:11.
So did God foreknow and even decree Adam’s fall into sin, as well as the calamitous consequences that this would bring upon the human family? The answer is no. If God did foreknow all of this, he would have become the author of sin when he made man, and God would be deliberately responsible for all human wickedness and suffering. Clearly, this cannot be reconciled with what God reveals about himself in the Scriptures. He is a God of love and justice who hates wickedness. – Psalm 33:5; Proverbs 15:9; 1 John 4:8.
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11-30-2009, 02:59 PM
Post: #5
RE: Why Does God Permit Suffering?
(11-30-2009 02:14 PM)jwitness Wrote:  Good questions...

The scriptures say that “God put Abraham to the test” by commanding him to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering. When Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, God stopped him and said: “Now I do know that you are God-fearing in that you have not withheld your son, your only one, from me.” – Gen 22:1-12.
Sounds like a real [censored] to me, to be honest. I think a person who would say "screw you, I'm not burning my son" would be worthy of far more respect than one who says "whatever you say, Lord." Or is love of family not something that God cares about?

Quote:Would God have made that statement if he knew in advance that Abraham would obey this command? Would it have been an honest test?
I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here. Are you saying God did or [/i]did not[/i] know that Abraham would follow through?

Quote:The ancient prophets report that God repeatedly spoke of himself as ‘feeling regret’ over something he had done or was thinking of doing. For ex. God said that he ‘regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.’ Because God is perfect, these verses cannot mean that God made a mistake in selecting Saul to be Israel’s first king. Rather, they must indicate that God felt sorry that Saul turned out to be faithless and disobedient. God’s using such an expression in referring to himself would be nonsensical if he had foreknown Saul’s actions.
Sounds like the definition of "mistake" to me. But honestly, I don't see why Christians shy away from that idea so much; a God that can make mistakes (and learn from them) raises far fewer logical issues than a perfect God.

If God did not see it comming, than she wasn't omniscient anyway.

Quote:The same term appears in the most ancient of the Scriptures where, in referring to the days of Noah, it says: “Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart. So Jehovah said: ‘I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground… because I do regret that I have made them.” – Gen 6:6,7. This indicates that man’s actions are not predestined by God. God felt regret, grief, and even hurt, not because his own actions were mistaken, but because man’s wickedness became rife. The created regretted that it had become necessary to destroy all mankind except Noah and his family. God assures us: ‘I take no delight in the death of the wicked.’ – Ezekiel 33:11.
Ok, I guess this clears up a few things, but it raises some questions as well.
If God is perfect, how could his creation be imperfect?

Quote:So did God foreknow and even decree Adam’s fall into sin, as well as the calamitous consequences that this would bring upon the human family? The answer is no. If God did foreknow all of this, he would have become the author of sin when he made man, and God would be deliberately responsible for all human wickedness and suffering. Clearly, this cannot be reconciled with what God reveals about himself in the Scriptures. He is a God of love and justice who hates wickedness. – Psalm 33:5; Proverbs 15:9; 1 John 4:8.
All of what you're saying seems to point to an imperfect God.
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11-30-2009, 04:14 PM
Post: #6
RE: Why Does God Permit Suffering?
(11-30-2009 02:59 PM)Geoffrey Taucer Wrote:  Sounds like a real [censored] to me, to be honest. I think a person who would say "screw you, I'm not burning my son" would be worthy of far more respect than one who says "whatever you say, Lord." Or is love of family not something that God cares about?

The original role of religion was the preservation of a particular community of people. In the rugged environment of the Middle East, surrounded by lots of other cultures with apparently more advanced civilizations (at least before the Kings) and chocked full of temptations, this would have been a tall order. This idea of community survival at all costs runs all through Judaism, from ancient times to the present. And how was survival ensured? First and foremost by absolute and precise delineation of the borders of Judaism, via behavioral and ritual practices and a history of the people, mythical and real, detailed in the cultural literature. The absolute authority of this cultural heritage was due to the special relationship between a powerful God and the Jewish people, as spelled out in that literature.

The point of the Abraham and Isaac story is that everything is subservient to God’s will, that is, to survival of the community as a whole. Everything else is expendable, no matter how painful it is. This is an alien concept to most Western people today, but that same underlying spirit can often be found buried deep in many Eastern cultures.

(11-30-2009 02:59 PM)Geoffrey Taucer Wrote:  If God did not see it coming, than she wasn't omniscient anyway.

If God is perfect, how could his creation be imperfect?

All of what you're saying seems to point to an imperfect God.

The idea of a God who is perfect in all respects did not appear until much later in history, not being well elaborated until the Middle Ages by Jewish and Christian theologians. Although prescience seems to be implied by prophecy, it does not appear to be a full fledged omniscience way back then. In the OT, God is more like a really powerful human being who watches over the Jews as long as they do what he wants.
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11-30-2009, 04:38 PM
Post: #7
RE: Why Does God Permit Suffering?
(11-30-2009 02:59 PM)Geoffrey Taucer Wrote:  
(11-30-2009 02:14 PM)jwitness Wrote:  If God did not see it comming, than she wasn't omniscient anyway.

Quote:The same term appears in the most ancient of the Scriptures where, in referring to the days of Noah, it says: “Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart. So Jehovah said: ‘I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground… because I do regret that I have made them.” – Gen 6:6,7. This indicates that man’s actions are not predestined by God. God felt regret, grief, and even hurt, not because his own actions were mistaken, but because man’s wickedness became rife. The created regretted that it had become necessary to destroy all mankind except Noah and his family. God assures us: ‘I take no delight in the death of the wicked.’ – Ezekiel 33:11.
Ok, I guess this clears up a few things, but it raises some questions as well.
If God is perfect, how could his creation be imperfect?

[quote]So did God foreknow and even decree Adam’s fall into sin, as well as the calamitous consequences that this would bring upon the human family? The answer is no. If God did foreknow all of this, he would have become the author of sin when he made man, and God would be deliberately responsible for all human wickedness and suffering. Clearly, this cannot be reconciled with what God reveals about himself in the Scriptures. He is a God of love and justice who hates wickedness. – Psalm 33:5; Proverbs 15:9; 1 John 4:8.
All of what you're saying seems to point to an imperfect God.

From my point of view, (I am a religous person but also I consider myself a Scientist.) True Perfection lies in Imperfection. Think about it, if some thing is Perfect it means that it has no room for improvement. The moment Perfection is reached there is no room for growth and from my stand point the cessation of growth is death.
So I would say that God is all-powerful, but perhaps God can improve, perhaps God is perfect because she is not Perfect.

Here is one of my ideas about Pre-Genesis.
Imagine some one who has just woken up, or more precisely just realized that they are All-Powerful. At first you might have no idea of what you can do, but then you would understand and perhaps you would get lonely. At fist you create things that have no free-will and they are blindly loyal to you, but you don't feel love from them because you created them to love you.
Perhaps you desire some one that choses to love you.
So you make the Angels and Humans.

Perhaps God is in some way Imperfect, but it is those Imperfections that make her the Perfect God. From a scientific point of view Perfection would be horrible, there would be nothing left to better ones self.
Perhaps we are all a part of God and it is us who make god imperfect, but like I said imperfections from my point of view are a good thing.

The Angels where Gods first creation we where the next step.

I have a theory that Hinduism and Judaism might have evolved from the same religion. But over time as humans spread across the world they got separated. One side came up with the idea that perhaps one God is the only one worthy of Worship, and that side eventually came up with idea that their God must be a Judge.

From my point of view it is not God that changes but our perception of God that changes. I see a part of Yahweh in other religions.

I think there might be more than one god, but there is only one God worth praise and Worship. So I think there is a King and the lesser gods are just angels. Some follow the king and some hate the king.

"Hidden underneath the stoned cold surface of every Pious Person lays buried a Kinky Pervert, Stop bringing shovels, Where not digging!"-Azrael
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12-02-2009, 09:59 AM
Post: #8
RE: Why Does God Permit Suffering?

If she created them perfect, how could they have gone against her will? If she was omniscient, could she not have seen it coming?

If she didn't want them to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, why not put that tree in a remote location where Adam and Eve could never get to it?

If God wanted unconditional obedience, why give Adam and Eve free will?

Why was it necessary to send Jesus to earth just to be brutally tortured and executed? If she's omnipotent, why can't she just skip the middle man and forgive us? If she loves us as much as we are told she does, why punish us for a crime supposedly committed by our great great great great yadda yadda yadda granparents thousands of years ago?
[/quote]

Why did God not forgive Adam and so prevent the terrible suffering experienced by mankind? Would that really have prevented suffering or would it, instead, have made God responsible for it? What happens when a father simply overlooks deliberate wrongdoing on the part of his children rather than take firm disciplinary measures? The children often get involved in first one form of wrongdoing and then another, and much of the responsibility lies with the father.

Similarly, if God had forgiven Adam’s deliberate sin, it would really have made God a party to the wrongdoing. That would not have improved conditions on earth at all. – Ecclesiastes 8:11. Furthermore, it would have resulted in disrespect for God on the part of his angelic sons, and it would mean that there was no real basis for hope of anything better. But such a situation could never have occurred, because righteousness is an unalterable foundation of Jehovah’s rulership. – Psalms 89:14.
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12-02-2009, 10:50 AM
Post: #9
RE: Why Does God Permit Suffering?
(12-02-2009 09:59 AM)jwitness Wrote:  
(11-30-2009 10:26 AM)Geoffrey Taucer Wrote:  If she created them perfect, how could they have gone against her will? If she was omniscient, could she not have seen it coming?

If she didn't want them to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, why not put that tree in a remote location where Adam and Eve could never get to it?

If God wanted unconditional obedience, why give Adam and Eve free will?

Why was it necessary to send Jesus to earth just to be brutally tortured and executed? If she's omnipotent, why can't she just skip the middle man and forgive us? If she loves us as much as we are told she does, why punish us for a crime supposedly committed by our great great great great yadda yadda yadda granparents thousands of years ago?

Why did God not forgive Adam and so prevent the terrible suffering experienced by mankind? Would that really have prevented suffering or would it, instead, have made God responsible for it? What happens when a father simply overlooks deliberate wrongdoing on the part of his children rather than take firm disciplinary measures? The children often get involved in first one form of wrongdoing and then another, and much of the responsibility lies with the father.

Similarly, if God had forgiven Adam’s deliberate sin, it would really have made God a party to the wrongdoing. That would not have improved conditions on earth at all. – Ecclesiastes 8:11. Furthermore, it would have resulted in disrespect for God on the part of his angelic sons, and it would mean that there was no real basis for hope of anything better. But such a situation could never have occurred, because righteousness is an unalterable foundation of Jehovah’s rulership. – Psalms 89:14.

It's generally customary for firm disciplinary action to be taken once, not to continue it for years (or in this case millenia). Furthermore, a good father wouldn't deliberately tempt a kid into wrongdoing; however, God, given the opportunity to place the forbidden fruit in a remote, unreachable location, put it right in the middle of the garden where Adam and Eve could very easily get to it.

Furthermore, most fathers don't require a human sacrifice to forgive their kids for wrongdoing.
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12-02-2009, 02:01 PM
Post: #10
RE: Why Does God Permit Suffering?
That is the problem! God has the right to set laws and make rules. As the Creator, he has that right. God gave Adam everything he needed. He told him he could eat freely of every tree of the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. Adam didn’t need to eat the fruit. He was given everything he needed to be happy. Adam did not make the earth to produce the fine things to eat. He did not create his beautiful companion Eve. He did not make his own body. But while Adam loved and enjoyed the fine life he had been kindly given, he did not follow through in an obedient way. All because of selfish reasons. He deliberately sinned against God.

The Catholic Jerusalem Bible makes a pertinent comment, in a footnote on Genesis 2:17: “This knowledge is a privilege which God reserves to himself and which man by sinning, is to lay hands on. Hence it does not mean omniscience, which fallen man does not possess; nor is it moral discrimination, for unfallen man already had it and God could not refuse it to a rational being. It is the power of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil and of acting accordingly, a claim to complete moral independence by which man refuses to recognize his status as a created being. The first sin was an attack on God’s sovereignty, a sin of pride.”

The tree was, in effect, symbolic of the boundary – the line of demarcation – or the limit of man’s proper domain. It was right and proper, yes, essential, that God inform Adam of that boundary. For a perfect man to eat of that tree would require the deliberate assent of his will. It would indicate the determination made beforehand that he would withdraw himself from subjection to God’s rulership, to go out on his own, doing what was good or bad according to this own decisions. God did not interfere with Adam’s free will. But Adam’s wrong choice brought him and his children into all kinds of trouble.
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